Valentine Candy: For My Four Girls

dripping drool kisses

drizzled with sticky syrup

hugs all covered with

gooey hands filled with the hearts

of my sweet, sweet valentines

…………………………………………………………..

This poem was my attempt at a Tanka, a form being explored today at One Stop Poetry. Visit their site to read more poems and add your own: http://onestoppoetry.com/2011/02/one-stop-poetry-form-todays-form-is-tanka.html

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Favorite Word #1: Epiphany

e·piph·a·ny  [ih-pif-uh-nee] –noun, plural -nies.

a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
(This word has a few other meanings as well, but I have chosen to highlight my favorite way to use it. You can explore all of the meanings of the word here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/epiphany)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I first encountered this word in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, when Stephen Dedalus has an epiphany about his love of beauty and his life as an artist. It was an epiphany for me to discover that there was actually a word to describe this experience. They are those moments when you are just doing the normal, everyday thing and something that you see or hear shifts the whole universe and the real meaning of yourself in relation to it is exposed.

My first epiphany happened in my senior year of high school. It was the end of my senior year, and we were watching the movie The Razor’s Edge based on the book of this name by Somerset Maugham. The story of Larry Darrell searching for meaning in his life really moved me. At that time, I was also searching for transcendent meaning, but questions about God and spirituality were not encouraged. I saw myself in Larry Darrell. I saw that my questions weren’t wrong. I vowed at that moment to keep asking the questions no matter what. It was a life-changing moment for me and still characterizes the way I live my life.

One of my poems that uses this word can be found here: http://karlaspoetry.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/epiphany-light-and-water/

What about you? Have you ever had an epiphany? Have you ever described an epiphany in your writing?

I hope that you’ll join me each Friday as I discuss my favorite words.

Drug Dealer’s Lullaby

I want mom to love me more than she needs to get stoned
Hush little baby, don’t you see
Your mommy’s sold your soul to me
I want her to love me more than she needs
Hush little baby, don’t say a word
Your mommy’s gone, you won’t be heard
I want her to love me more
Hush little baby, don’t you cry
Your mommy’s at home getting high
I want her to love me
Hush little baby, don’t you whine
Your mommy said your body’s mine
I want her to love
Hush little baby, don’t you scream
Here’s a little something, make you feel like a dream
I want her
.
…………………………………………………………………………………………….
This poem was written for One Shot Wednesday, hosted by One Stop Poetry at
http://onestoppoetry.com/2011/02/one-shot-wednesday-week-32-hosted-by-moondustwriter-2.html

Verses on the Love of God–Week 1

I have recently started a devotional practice where I collect a group of verses on a particular topic and read, meditate and pray over those verses each day. Some days, I make it through the whole group of verses. Other days, one verse or passage may be the focus of my meditations and prayers. I find this practice particularly helpful in the renewal of my mind.

The topic that I have chosen for this week is The Love of God. The verses and passages I am using for devotional time are below:

Exodus 34:6-7

Psalm 5:7

Psalm 23

Psalm 31:7, 16

Psalm 33:5, 22

Psalm 36:7-10

If you decide to read these passages as well, I would love to hear about what God has revealed to your heart in your quiet time with Him.

Peace be with you.

The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus: Meditation on Romans 5:8

This verse has been running through my head the past few days:

Romans 5:8 (NIV, ©2011)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Can you imagine a love this big? God didn’t say, “Get yourself cleaned up and obey my rules, and then, I’ll die for you.” He didn’t say, “Get yourself right with me, and then I’ll die for you.” He didn’t even say, “Love me, and I’ll die for you.” He loves us so much that He died for us when we were in sin, separated from Him, when we rejected and denied Him, when we deliberately disobeyed Him. He loves us so much that He has provided a way back to Him–no matter how far away from Him we go.

This kind of love takes my breath away. I feel so unworthy in the face of it, because I know that I do not come close to loving in this way. I like to think that I am a loving, caring person, but in the face of a love like this, my love pales in comparison. How could I ever love Him as much as He loves me? And while I could see myself dying for my children or other members of my immediate family, I would probably never lay down my life for those that have hurt me, rejected me, deceived me, or betrayed me. Yet this is exactly what Jesus did. He did it for all of us; He did it for me.

My first response in trying to understand this profound love is, “Who am I that You, sweet Jesus, would love me this much?” The only answer is that He loves me this much because of who He is. He is love. I am inspired to attempt to live a life that is somehow worthy of His love. I pray that He will help me love Him more and better and deeper.

This old hymn by Samuel Francis is a beautiful response to the realization of His love:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!


Belief

Once belief is broken,
promises become lies
and idols are toppled,
revealed as scraps of wood
whose worthlessness cries out
to be worshiped,
not loved.
……………………………….
This poem was written in response to a poetry prompt from Robert Lee Brewer at http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/CategoryView,category,PoetryPrompts.aspx

Thoughts on Freezing and Thawing

Today, January 26th, marks one year since I left my life and husband in Denver and moved back to the city of my birth.  I call it the day that my world fell apart, which is true, but what I didn’t know then (and would never have acknowledged) was that it was also the beginning of a new world for me–a world where God has been so near and so present that, even though I feel like I am walking through a tundra, I also feel like I am being healed and put back together as a whole human being.

For many years, I lived with a frozen soul.  Like the Narnia that was ruled by the White Witch, I lived in a spiritual place where it was “always winter but never Christmas.”  I think that being frozen is different from being numb, because when you are numb you are incapable of feeling.  I was capable of feeling, but all that I was feeling was pain: unending hurt and misery.  This constant pain caused a layer of ice to form over my soul so that even when there were moments of happiness, they were unable to penetrate and give me any relief.

Freezing was my method of surviving. By freezing, I could put on a smile, dress up, dress up my children and pretend (even to myself) that everything was just fine. The frozen layer kept all of my pain and frustration hidden. I did such a good job of this, that some people even wished they could have a life like mine. When I heard this, my stomach would turn. But I believed that if I could keep up the pretense, I could keep everything together.

But one year ago, it all fell apart.  I believed, at the time, that I had been buried under an avalanche.  The truth is, it was really the first crack in my frozen exterior.  Over the past year, under the love of my Savior (And I really know what His Name means), I have gently thawed.  More and more of the real me is being exposed.

Nowadays, I make no pretense of having it all together.  Being a single mom of four young girls six and under won’t allow for that.  My girls show up at church some days in the clothes they wore to bed and their hair only minimally combed.  They run around, out of my grasp, out of control, and gathering them in is like trying to corral wild horses.  Some days I am able to get a little make-up on; some days I don’t.  There is just no way for me to look like I have it all together.  Most days I am thankful to God that He has me in this position.

Because I can no longer focus on my appearance, I feel like I am much more focused on what truly matters.  The more I thaw, the more I am able to enjoy my girls.  In the last few months, we have had moments of deep-belly laughing that have been cathartic for all of us.  We didn’t laugh much before.  Perhaps we were all frozen.

A frozen life is not what I want for them or for myself.  I don’t believe that God wants us to live that way either.  Psalm 104 describes a Creator who made earth for our enjoyment: “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for men to cultivate–bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” (vv. 14-15)  This place where His face shines upon us only becomes real when we get real, when we allow the truth of who we are to break out and flow through and bless ourselves and the ones we love.

So this year I say, let winter do its worst.  I will still be warm, resting in the arms of the One who loves me best.

The Wanderer

In the desert, show me your fire.
Call my name and draw me near.
All I want is your desire.
.
Who am I that you would require
survival through my deepest fear?
In the desert, show me your fire.
.
Take my sight to something higher
than the pain that makes my path unclear.
All I want is your desire.
.
Will the doubt that comes in the darkest hour
condemn me to wander year after year?
In the desert, show me your fire.
.
Though this life has never felt drier,
you can make me flower here.
All I want is your desire.
.
In the promised land to which I aspire,
your hand wipes away every tear.
In the desert, show me your fire.
All I want is your desire.
………………………………………….
Written as a venture into the villanelle form as featured on One Stop Poetry http://oneshotpoetry.blogspot.com/2011/01/monday-one-stop-poetry-form-villanelle.html

Epiphany: Light and Water

At mid-day,
while the wildish wind hums
and the trees keep slow swaying time,
the Sun likes singing
an intense, but gentle song
to the Lake of Hokkaido;
for she listens with deep appreciation,
absorbing his vibrant yellow tones
as they call forth
the deepest green of trees,
the most brilliant blue of sky,
the warmest glow of gold,
until she is filled
with warm, clear light.
.
Then, glowing with gold,
resplendent with green,
radiant with blue,
she proudly reveals
her bottom of mud and stone,
her shape,
her depth,
in a tranquil, undulating song
that tells of her joy
at finally being known.
.
And in this duet
of peaceful,
passionate resonance,
Light and Water
find themselves more splendid
in each other.
.
.
This poem was written for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry–Where Poets, Writers and Artists Meet.  To read more poets and submit your own work, connect here: http://oneshotpoetry.blogspot.com/2011/01/one-shot-wednesday-week-28.html

Awakening Romance: Light and Water

A night of cool reflection
brings the Lake of Hokkaido once again
to this moment
of patient anticipation
when the gallant Sun
pulls himself slowly
over her mountains
and with quiet knowing
of the places that need gentle awakening,
touches her lightly,
first here,
then there,
until he sees
the pale pink blush
and tremulous ripples
that encourage him to climb higher
and peer into her more deeply,
pulling from her inviting blackness
shades of indigo, orange, and gold.
.
She loves the warmth of him
that penetrates beyond her reflection
and moves her to sing again
of the heights of mountains,
the whisperings of trees,
the secrets of limitless sky
.
She loves his light
that moves her to reflection
and deepens the peace
of her darkness.